tv Politics Nation MSNBC June 20, 2021 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT
supreme court upheld the affordable care act again. this ruling reaffirms what we have long known to be true, the affordable care act is here to say. thank you as always. that wraps up the hour for me. i'll be back here next saturday at sunday at 3:00 p.m. i'm going to turn it over to my friend al sharpton and "politics nation." good evening and welcome to ""politics nation," closing out this juneteenth weekend. tonight's lead, make it count. right now we are settling. juneteenth is now federally recognized, offering america at least one more day of reflection on its past. but it comes as republican state lawmakers are suppressing even the discussion of race with our
future leaders, and the congressional gop remains preemptively against the voter protection legislation democrats have compromised on. but it would help black voters in the same state that birthed juneteenth to begin with. so here's my challenge to republicans in congress. ahead of tuesday's senate vote on the "for the people" act, do not hide behind a holiday that black americans frankly deserve, a recognition of the historic and continuous waiting for various freedoms that black americans have endured because that recognition is heartening. but we still understand that currently we're under an assault of your party's making, occurring in nearly every state. and while the nation stands to benefit from another teachable moment, it should not be an
either/or proposition, not while this suppression campaign never takes a day off. we start tonight with congressman hakeem jeffries, chair of the democratic caucus and a member of both the judiciary and budget committees and, most importantly for today, a proud father. congressman jeffries, thank you for being with us here tonight, and happy father's day. i have to start with the for the people act. the senate voted this tuesday, which mitch mcconnell and his caucus have said they will reject in unison. this includes the compromise version offered by senator joe manchin and the john lewis act is yet to be taken up in the senate after passing the house. but mcconnell says the same thing. no chance. as chair of the democratic caucus, where does your party even go when you can't advance a conversation around even a
compromise bill to enhance our elections, but you have near unanimous support from republicans on a juneteenth holiday? why this and not that? >> well, good afternoon, rev. it's great to be with you, and of course happy father's day to you. with respect to mitch mcconnell, what comes to mind are the words of george wallace when he uttered something to the effect of "segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever." and we've seen with mitch mcconnell during the presidency of barack obama and now with the presidency of joe biden, his view is generally obstruction today, obstruction tomorrow, obstruction forever. now, with respect to juneteenth and making it a federal holiday, this was a meaningful step in the right direction in order for us to deal with the situations
that we confront in the present. it is important to acknowledge and recognize and lift up the sins of the past. so it was an honor to vote on the juneteenth bill. but we still have a long way to go in america. now, we'll see what happens with the for the people act, h.r. 1 and s. 1 on tuesday. then i think we have to go back to the drawing table if mcconnell presumably prevails with the use of the filibuster to move toward some of the things that joe manchin has indicated along with stacey abrams are absolutely necessary to be done as part of a meaningful effort to find common ground. and i think i would anticipate that those discussions will pick up immediately after the senate either acts or fails to act next week. >> now, congressman, you mentioned juneteenth. i still have to celebrate the work that has been done this
past week and decades before that for that matter. how good did it feel to watch president biden sign the house bill led by sheila jackson lee that made juneteenth a federal holiday now? >> well, it was amazing. and, rev, you often preach from the bible the first shall be last, and the last shall be first. this is the last federal holiday. the one before that, of course, was 40-plus years ago when martin luther king day was enacted as a federal holiday. it should have been first certainly in the instance of juneteenth, but things have a way of working themselves out. justice delayed has not been justice denied in this particular instance. and now we have to make sure that in much the same way that martin luther king's holiday, which i often celebrate with you at the house of justice, an amazing annual event, is used to
advance action moving forward. certainly to acknowledge the journey that we've been on but to really use this as part of a continuing reckoning, which is why your point about senators on the other side of the aisle not hiding behind their juneteenth vote. that's the least that they can do. much more needs to be done to truly continue our march toward a more perfect union. >> now let's talk about infrastructure. are the democrats prepared to fight that fight and the fight that ensues should enough members call for reconciliation to pass president biden's plan without republican support? >> we had a good conversation, house democrats earlier, in the past week with counsel to the president and the director of omb, and they made clear that
the president is committed to the bipartisan discussions that are under way in terms of an infrastructure plan. but we are prepared to operate on a two-track approach and to utilize reconciliation if necessary. the republicans used reconciliation twice in 2017, the first time to try to repeal the affordable care act and take care away from millions of americans. the second time to enact the gop tax scam where 83% of the benefits went to the wealthiest 1%. so certainly reconciliation is something available to us to utilize as part of what president biden indicated he would do in the oval office, which is to build back better. we cannot go back to pre-pandemic normal because during the time prior to the pandemic, half the american people couldn't afford a sudden unexpected $400 expense. this is in the wealthiest country in the history of the world. so we are going to build back
better. we're going to invest in our physical infrastructure, create millions of good-paying jobs, and invest in the caring economy as well. hopefully republicans will see fit to join us in this journey, but if not, certainly reconciliation is something that is available to us, and i believe on the house side, with great leadership from speaker pelosi, we will be prepared to do what is necessary to get the american jobs plan over the finish line. >> congressman, very quickly, this friday derek chauvin faces sentencing for george floyd's murder. what can you tell us about where negotiations stand on the justice in policing act in mr. floyd's name. >> well, congresswoman karen bass has been leading the effort on the house side, joined by senator booker and tim scott. i think we all believe that tim scott is, at least until this
point, endeavoring to negotiate in good faith. we have to get something done in this space. we have to end police violence. we have to end police brutality. we have to end the police excessive use of force. the american people all across the country took to the streets to demand it. and congress has to act in this instance. i think the next two weeks will be critical in terms of us trying to get something done before the july 4th recess, where we'll be celebrating independence and freedom and liberty. we have to make sure there's liberty and justice for all, including african-americans who far too often fall victim to police violence when encountering law enforcement. the george floyd justice in policing act will be critical in that effort. so we're all in, rev, to get this done. >> all right. congressman hakeem jeffries, let me say this. i know that tuesday is primary
day in new york. i was out telling people to get out and vote. some erroneous report says i -- i've attacked nobody in the race for the record, but i will raise questions on anybody in any race. but if i'm attacking, you'll know it. you don't have to read between the lines. happy father's day to you, hakeem, and glad to have you with us, mr. congressman. now to the continued rollout of the coronavirus vaccine. some states have large majorities of their populations vaccinated while others are still facing a rise in cases. and at least some of that split is around ideological lines with democrats and independents much more likely to have been vaccinated than their republican counterparts. joining me now is reverend dr. w. franklin richardson, senior pastor of the grace baptist church of new york.
and dr. yuchi blackstock, founder and ceo of advancing health equity and an msnbc medical contributor. reverend richardson, let me start with you. i don't know what we can do to address the partisan nature of the vaccine split, but there's also a racial split, and it's more about access than hesitancy. fewer than half of u.s. states have vaccinated more than a third of their black population, something i know that you and cnbc is digging down in. what can be done? what are we doing at a state, local, and federal level to make this vaccine more equitable? >> first of all, thank you, reverend sharpton. first of all, we have to own the fact that there's this inequity
around race. 53% of americans are vaccinated while 9% of african-americans are. what we find is that black people have received smaller amounts of the vaccination compared to the deaths they've had and the total population they make in these states. as you just mentioned, only one-third in half the states have vaccinated one-third of the population. so what we've done, we commend the biden administration and particularly we commend you, reverend sharpton, because you have been our number-one influencer in terms of encouraging our people. we have to push trusted voices, trusted content, and trusted spaces. so what we've done is try to help our communities. religious leaders in the conference of national black churches of all denominations are pushing vaccinations all over the country. and we are educating our people with engaging in activities in
local communities. we're getting into these pharmacy deserts. rural communities have the largest numbers. do not let people be misinformed, when they say 65% of americans are vaccinated, that's only 51% of african-americans that are vaccinated. then if you go down further, there are certain sections in communities where if you look at race, hispanic and african-americans, their statistics are very low. in some places, we're as low as 20% vaccinated in african and latino communities. so it is a crisis. what we've done at this conference of national black churches is we've organized 3,000 pastors that we are training, giving them information about vaccinations, about the science, about the conspiracy theories, how to debunk them, because we really have to address not just
vaccinations for the pandemic. the pandemic has unfolded the fact that the african-american community has been denied and addressed to vaccinations or we're falling behind in the major population. so we have generations of vaccine denial, and it's cost us death and it's cost us pain. and the church, i'm happy to say, is engaged across this country in all denominations, and we will be in partnership with the cdc, making this happen. the cdc has owned the challenge, and we know that the pastors are trusted voices in african-american communities. >> and we've got to do a lot more. dr. blackstock, a study published this week by the kaiser family foundation warned that even if we reach president biden's 70% vaccination goal by july 4th or later, the failure to get some shots into arms equitably in the black and hispanic communities could limit the recovery overall and widen existing health disparities.
are there initiatives or programs that have worked, and how do we get them expanded to the communities that need them the most? >> thank you for having me on, reverend al. as you mentioned, you know, there are two issues. one is access, and the other are concerns about the vaccine. in terms of access, we're seeing those barriers being pushed down. there is incentives for small businesses to give paid sick leave to get the vaccine. child care is being offered. transportation is being offered. extended hours at vaccination sites. so i think the access issues -- i think the biden administration is actually doing a strong job, and they need to keep pushing. but the other issue -- and this is what your other guest mentioned -- is this idea of trusted messengers, getting them out there. what we're seeing is that the biden administration has also engaged not only with faith-based organizations but with barbershops and salons. this is building on decades of
work in our communities that black barbershops, public health officials, black health care professionals have done to really target preventive medicine and increase outreach and education around the vaccine. this is what we're going to need in the next few months if we hope to even think about closing this gap because as you know, we have this delta variant that's here already, and that is going to potentially affect unvaccinated communities. those are our communities, again, causing an increase in the gaps that we already see. >> reverend richardson, in detroit, a majority black city, access has been a huge problem, including issues with transportation and basic information with over a third of residents without home internet access. these same issues are undoubtedly replicated in other cities. reverend charles williams and others have been bringing this up to me over and over again.
what can we do to bridge this gap? >> well, we're working on expanding broadband. very important. we're working with the broadband distributors, trying to get them to increase the broadband in african-american communities. you know, people don't have computers, they can't make appointments. it's a big obstruction. so we are facing a real challenge as it relates to broadband. one of the other things we have to do is we're on the ground, cnbc with our pastor and staff on the ground providing transportation to sites. that's a problem in rural communities. and assisting people with the broadband issue. it's a history, reverend. when you have a history of neglect, it doesn't just show up in one instance. the pandemic, the covid-19 has exposed how neglectful this response to vaccinations has been in our community, and it
has given us an opportunity to begin to focus on it and to correct it because this is not over when the pandemic is over. and the pandemic is not going to be over when we think it's over. and so we still have to have a long-range commitment to changing the issues around health and trust in our communities. our people fundamentally do not trust the government, and that's why it's important to put trusted voices into the conversation and there's nobody more trusted in our community than pastors who talk to their people every week, who preach to them, who bury their dead, who bless their babies and marry their young. so this is very urgent. i'm calling on all pastors. we have a website. you can sign up and become a -- be trained. we're doing 3,000 pastors. we're already done about 500, and we're getting this out. we're mobilizing the churches and the pastors. >> dr. blackstock, even though it's father's day, i want to address the vaccination rate
among pregnant people because even there, we see a racial disparity. according to a study published last month, vaccination rates were lowest among black and hispanic pregnant populations. briefly, what should those communities know about the safety of the vaccine for them specifically? >> right. so there are two parts. pregnant people need to understand that what we've seen actually in the data is that black and other pregnant people of color actually have been disproportionately impacted by covid-19. there are higher rates of these people ending up in the intensive care unit on ventilators and severely ill. so that's one. covid-19 is a risk to people who are pregnant. but the other issue is that we now have months of data on people who are pregnant who have received the vaccine that have shown that the vaccine is both safe and effective. there are a lot of myths out there about fertility, about the
impact of the vaccine on a pregnancy that are just not true. so, again, this is about getting that information that's accurate, that's concise, that's culturally responsive out to our community because we already have a black maternal mortality crisis in this country. we cannot risk exacerbating those inequities by having our pregnant people undervaccinated. so, again, we need to -- you know, the next few months are going to be very crucial because we can see over the summer and in the winter as the weather gets colder and the virus is more likely to spread in those conditions, we could see our communities being disproportionately impacted yet again. we have to really use this moment as a transformative moment. >> all right. thank you to both of you, reverend dr. w. franklin richardson and dr. blackstock. coming up, as we celebrate father's day, i'm going to bring you some facts about black fatherhood that might surprise
you and will definitely inspire you to rise up. plus, it's the last day of early voting in new york city, but you can still vote on primary day on tuesday. one candidate running for manhattan's district attorney joins me live to discuss his policy proposals and his plans for the investigation of the former president trump. but first my colleague richard lui with today's other top news stories. richard. rev, a very good sunday to you and father's day as well. just in, police in wilton manors, florida, now saying an incident where a truck rammed into a pride parade yesterday was an accident. one person was killed. another is expected to recover. the driver and the victims are members of ft. lauderdale gay men's chorus, and so said the group's president. he also said he did not believe this is an attack on the lgbtq community. nine children and one adult died in a highway crash saturday.
alabama authorities believe turbulent storms from tropical storm claudette likely contributed. investigators are looking further into why a bus with children coming back from a beach trip collided with another vehicle. the sheriff said the crash was the county's worst ever. and the european union lifted restrictions on american travelers. u.s. residents can now freely travel to all 27 countries. however, the u.s. still bans eu residents for now. and before we go to break, be sure to catch an nbc news exclusive, a documentary that features reverend sharpton's perspective. it's about the march 16 atlanta shootings, thursday marks 100 days since eight were killed, six of which were asian women. what the rev said had the impact of bloody sunday on asian-americans. here's a part of it. >> the mass shootings have triggered a lot of emotion in the asian-american community, sadness, anger, disbelief. >> this has happened to african-americans, to latinos. this now is happening to asian-americans. >> we have to speak out.
we have to act. >> months after the march 16, 2021 attack, it's quiet. few cars. no people. no reporters. and no flowers or memorials. >> interviews with five of the eight victims' families. it's streaming now at nbcnews.com/asian-american. more politics nation right after the break. e break. i may not be able to tell time, but i know what time it is. [whispering] it's grilled cheese o'clock.
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other races to eat at least one meal with their children every day. the same study showed black fathers were also more likely to have bathed, dressed, or diapered their children every day and to have taken them to activities or helped with their homework. meanwhile, any accuracy in the missing black father trope is largely due to deliberate and racist policy decisions. according to a 2016 economic policy institute study, up to 1 in 10 black children has an incarcerated parent. the ugly reality of mass incarceration in the united states is that a huge proportion of those behind bars are convicted of nonviolent drug offenses. and while black and white people use drugs roughly at the same rates, black folks are almost six times as likely to be imprisoned for it.
far too many black fathers have been ripped away from their children against their will because of addiction and racist criminal justice systems. of course black fathers, like all fathers, are not a monolith. some do leave. my own father left when i was 10 years old. but i had a surrogate father who stepped into the gap, the late great james brown took me under his wing. but happily my father and i have reconciled, a very important thing to me. and that's the example we must follow. if we want to rise up together this father's day, if there's a child in your life who needs a parental figure, offer your guidance. advocate for an end to mass incarceration. the reunification of families torn apart by that racist practice and for the equitable allocation of resources so all families can thrive. if you're a parent, you can rise up in your own home. according to the u.s. bureau of labor statistics, mothers spend
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welcome back to "politics nation." in cities across the country, lawmakers are working to create new policing and criminal justice reforms that have been long overdue. this comes as the race for manhattan's district attorney is heating up. the winning candidate will oversee one of the largest district attorney offices in the country. the changes that come out of
their office will set the tempo for what other cities across the nation can achieve by rolling out these crucial reforms. with me now, candidate for manhattan district attorney and former new york state chief deputy attorney alvin bragg. attorney bragg, you're running for district attorney at a pivotal moment in new york city where lawmakers are facing a balancing act. on one hand, our city is long overdue for criminal justice reform. yet at the same time, the rise in crime, in gun violence, particularly hate crimes as well has been concerning. as d.a., what would your first steps be to ensure fairness in manhattan's criminal justice system but safety among its residents? >> thank you, reverend sharpton. happy father's day. i've lived at this intersection my entire life. i had a gun pointing me six
times, three by police officers and three by people who weren't police officers. so i understand these issues, you know, in my heart. i would do what i've done throughout my career, which is focus on reforms. like i pushed back against stop and frisk when i was at the attorney general's office. but then focusing on cases that do matter for our public safety like gun trafficking. we can have both. they go together. they're opposite sides of the same coin. i've worked on both issues throughout my career and who do it as district attorney. >> as cities across the country face their own reckoning regarding how they conduct policing and criminal justice, what are the key takeaways you have seen that make reforming city criminal justice systems a success? >> so we need to shrink the footprint, you know, when you think about george floyd and the counterfeit bill, eric garner and allegedly an untaxed cigarette. we have so many offensives that
have nothing to do with public safety. we need to shrink the footprint prosecute that and focus on what really does matter, like i said, gun trafficking, violent sex offenses. that's the first step, shrinking the footprint and then you mentioned this earlier in the program. you have to talk about what our cities are missing, investing in our homeless population and mental health. that's the balance. that's the balance. we can invest in our communities and then address, you know, the violent crimes. we can do that, and we've seen that elsewhere. we've seen the benefits from not, you know, reflexively incarcerating for things that don't have anything to do with public safety. you had great statistics earlier in the show about that and about the effect of mass incarceration on communities and the collateral consequences to families. that's not making us safer. we need to not do that and at the same time, focus on things like significant issues like gun trafficking. >> the current d.a. of
manhattan, cy vance jr. will leave office at the end of the year. if you win, as new chief prosecutor, you will inherit one of the most high-profile cases of the decade, the criminal investigation looking into former president trump's finances. when analyzing where the investigation standing today, how would you proceed when taking it over? >> so, you know, as you know, i can't comment on that which i don't know. but looking at what's in the public, i look at the team that's been assembled. they brought some folks in from outside of the office. and, you know, i've worked on a lot of matters where i've come in in the middle. and as would be the case here, complex matters. i worked on the prosecution of the former senate majority leader. i oversaw the prosecution of one mayor for campaign finance fraud, did another one for bribery of another mayor. so i stand at the ready to come in midstream, assess, and given the team that's been, you know, put together, you know, my
experience with complex cases is generally you want to keep that kind of team together. i'll do what i've done throughout my career, which is follow the facts wherever they go. as i said, politicians of both parties, and i should mention i've got particular litigation history with trump himself, having led the attorney general's team that held trump and his family accountable for the trump foundation. i feel well situated to step in. >> lastly, briefly, if elected, would you be manhattan's first ever black d.a.? you grew up in harlem during the rise of the crack cocaine epidemic. on a personal level, how much does this mean to you, to you, to be able to run for the district attorney? >> it means a lot. you know, i knew the late ken thompson. he was a friend who was a black
district attorney in brooklyn, the first there. i'd share a short story. my son at the beginning of covid, he's 11 years old. he didn't want to wear a face mask. he knows the science but he told me, dad, if i wear a face mask, the police may mistake me for a robber. he's 11. he's internalized all that is going on in our country. so to be able to look at him and for him to know that i'd be the person responsible for safety and fairness and police accountability in our city, not just him personally but those students in my sunday school class and others that look like him, it is deeply meaningful to me. >> alvin bragg, thank you very much for being with us tonight. coming up, how black fatherhood was challenged and why it was challenged by the pandemic. one man's journey to use his music to inspire fathers everywhere. les] [sfx: rainstorm] ♪♪
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fatherhood changed my life as it has a way of doing for most men. but this past year, covid changed fatherhood for millions of us, keeping vulnerable grandfathers from their grandchildren and devastating communities economically, taking a disproportionate toll on black fathers trying to keep jobs while avoiding a plague. to those that attempt this, the best work i've ever done in my
life, i see and salute you, and so does my next guest. joining me now, pierce freelaun, children's music artist. welcome to "politics nation." i'm glad to have you on tonight because like many of us, you wear multiple hats. you're an educator, a black city councilman in a city that is rapidly gentrifying, which is durham, north carolina. and of course you're a music from an artistic family, your mother and your father, who designed the smithsonian african-american museum. but like myself, so many dads, there is that one hat that means the most, the heaviest one but most rewarding. how does fatherhood affect all
the work that you do? >> well, thank you, reverend sharpton, and happy father's day to you and all the other fathers out there. fatherhood is everything in my life. like you mentioned, my dad, i had such a wonderful nurturing, loing role model who showed me the blueprint. no pun intended. he was an architect. my wife and i have been married for 13 years. we have two beautiful children. especially during covid, they became a part of our everyday lives in a way that they hadn't been previously. so they're in the studio with me. they're, you know, coming to work every day with city council stuff. so it's just been a wonderful opportunity to get more intimate with them and to welcome them into the workplace creatively and otherwise. >> i find it fascinating just looking at your descriptor for our audience. that you're a public servant and a musician. you find a way to interweave
both passions and i know that forms the basis of your recent release "black to the future." i understand one of the songs you're proudest of in this album is about closing the remaining gaps in covid vaccinations among specifically children. so if you will, pierce, tell me about cootie shot. >> i don't know if you remember back in the day, circle, circle, dot, dot, now i got my cootie shot. it was a nursery rhyme we used to sing on the playground. i wanted to create a song that really helped kids tap into the joy of that nursery rhyme from so many of our childhoods to address a very serious topic which is vaccine equity. especially for us in the black community, we need to close that racial gap in vaccine distribution and access and choice. the choice to get vaccinated and do our part. so cootie shot is a joyful song.
it's in the kind of miami base bop kind of genre, and the goal is to get kids and their families dancing to the doctor's office. it's a joyful, fun song about something, you know, that a lot of people are nervous about, getting vaccinated. >> so you'll be pleased to know that it's been a long time since we had some music here on "politics nation," and i understand you're about to break that spell with the perfect father's day song and a little help from your own little helpers, your son justice and your daughter stella. so pierce freelon, i really want to thank you for being with us tonight. and as we go to break, a song that i can relate to as a girl dad, daddy/daughter day. take it away. >> happy father's day. come on, stella. come on, justice. ♪ you ready for a daddy daughter day, daddy daughter day ♪
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millions of fathers today spent father's day with their children, and doing what fathers and children should do. and then many of us that are active in what we do, our children know that is what we do. so my children went with me today. they're grown, and i'm older, but i spent the day going to, among other places, harlem churches, urging people to come out in vote in early voting in
new york and to vote in the primary tuesday and straightening out distorted reports in the media that i was attacking candidates i was not attacking. what was special is i spent a little while back at home with my grandson, who was teaching me that he was learning certain words. but as i was warmed by spending time with my one and only grandchild and my two daughters who are doing very well, i thought about those children and grandchildren who can't spend time with their fathers. or grand fathers, because they are victims of being unarmed men killed by police, i feel unjustly. i thought about eric garner's family. i thought about the family of george floyd. i thought about the husband and father of two killed unarmed by a policeman in hawaii that i'm looking into. i thought about this because even on holidays, i think about
those that don't have the same privileges and the same things that we enjoy, that were unjustly taken. i think about that because the father figures in my life raised me that way. i had father figures in my life, like bishop f.d. washington, like reverend dr. william jones, like reverend jesse jackson, like the godfather of soul, james brown. so as i do my duties as a father, i do my duty as a son figure to those that raised me to stand up for other fathers. that makes it a complete father's day for me. we'll be right back. home. he found it in a boy with special needs, who also needed him. as part of our love promise, subaru and our retailers host adoption events and have donated 28 million dollars
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picks up our news coverage now. >> thanks, reverend sharpton. good to be with you. hello, everybody. i'm michael steele, in for alicia menendez. we're looking ahead this father's day to a huge week ahead for the biden agenda. one that could have major implications for how the president moves ahead with his term. first, on voting rights. senate majority leader chuck schumer plans to force a vote on the for the people act on tuesday in what will be a major test for democrats. it comes as we await a major supreme court decision out of arizona that could gut what's left of the voting rights act. and what some have called the most important voting rights case in almost a decade. with hr-1 in trouble in the senate, democrats are eyeing points of compromise to get two of the holdouts, joe manchin and kyrsten sinema, onboard, but some progressives don't think the compromise bill from manchin goes farnered. >> now that he's negotiating